July 8, 2011

The Statistics are Staggering...

Birth in Africa, Mozambique included, is a dangerous thing. I've always known this and been burdened wondering how and if I could ever make a difference. That is a question still to be answered.
I stumbled upon a documentary about Mozambican "midwives" or at least the closest thing to them. You can watch "Birth of a Surgeon" if you are interested. Caution: It could be considered graphic because of live birth situations. Unfortunately, they are not taught a more holistic approach but instead how to intervene in emergency situations. Don't get me wrong this also desperately needed because of the lack of adequately trained medical professionals and decent medical facilities and really the whole concept of medical care in the Mozambican culture.
Being somewhat informed I still found the statistics staggering.
1 in 9 babies in Mozambique will not live to see their first birthday.
1 in 22 women die giving birth.
Women in Mozambique have a 160% greater risk of dying during pregnancy or delivery than those in western countries.
250,000 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth complications.
Sub-saharan Africa is the deadliest place on earth to give birth.
The population of Mozambique's capital city Maputo is over 1.2 million and there are only 7 obstetricians.
Most of the country does not have access to prenatal and obstetrical care.
It saddens me and sickens me. It goes so much deeper than just more doctors, more hospitals, more supplies. It goes to the root of women being not valued. It is the lack of care and knowledge given to women. 
To be honest I have been concerned for Mozambican friends of ours that are having babies. Two years ago our friend's wife labored for days and finally was given a c-section which I was amazed they were even doing in our local provincal hospital. I was also amazed that she and her baby survived-Praise the Lord! Soon after the birth her husband showed up at our door to give his announcement but also to ask for advice. The medical personnel had shared NOTHING with his wife about how to care for the baby or what to do in problem situations. Her family was not near her as she was living in a different area with her husband than where she came from so she had no one to ask or learn from. The father was worried about how he was ever going to afford to buy milk to feed his baby because the baby was not wanting to eat and he didn't know what to do. He was panicked knowing he did not have the means to fund buying tins of milk powder which to him meant his child was likely going to suffer and die. After calming him and asking some questions I came to discover that his wife's milk had simply not come in yet as it was still to early. No one shared with them that this is normal and not to worry. I encouraged him to tell his wife not to give up and continue and the baby will do well as she is created to feed the baby. I am happy to report that mother and baby both did very well and he is a growing, chubby little boy today. But I do wonder, what if the father had not come and received information. I believe he would have gone and bought a tin of milk and started the baby on it and then been left with a mother that could not offer nourishment to her baby and a baby that needed milk that he simply could not afford to provide. Heartbreaking!
Like I said earlier deep within me is a stirring to somehow, someway make a difference.
Pray with me as I seek the Lord.
I am very happy to report that this little one is about to beat the odds...
Graca Sara will be turning ONE in just a few weeks. To God be the Glory!

1 comment:

Schilinski Clan said...

Wow, those are some statistics. At least in the urban areas in Cameroon there is good prenatal and baby care. The Catholics and Baptist have done a good job of setting up clinics. In the village it is a whole different story. There is a belief that eating eggs and chickens is bad for the baby so pregnant mothers shouldn't eat them! pregnancy and birth can be a hard thing to go through. Thanks for all the info!